Tavira is a scenic town on the Eastern Algarve with a beautiful riverfront and numerous historical attractions including a castle and several churches.
Tavira does have some great beaches close by (including Praia da Ilha de Tavira), but they’re not as easily accessible as the beaches in other Algarve towns. Praia da Ilha de Tavira, for example, is 2 km from Tavira and can be reached by taking a ferry or walking across a footbridge.
Because the beaches aren’t quite as accessible as those in places like Albufeira, Carvoeiro, or Monte Gordo, Tavira has never become a beach resort town like those mentioned. For many people, particularly people that want to move to the Algarve, that’s a very positive thing. If you don’t mind taking a ferry to the beach, there are several beautiful beaches near Tavira. It’s also just over 8 km from the Pego do Inferno waterfalls.
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Tavira is also close to many other interesting towns close by including Faro, Loulé, Castro Marim, and Vila Real de Santo António. Even Sagres, on the other side of the Algarve, is still within driving distance: just 90 minutes by car.
There are also plenty of areas of natural beauty close by, in particular the Ria Formosa. This natural park is considered to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal which, considering how many beautiful places there are in Portugal, is definitely a very high accolade.
Tavira is also just 30 minutes by car from Spain, so you could easily take a day trip into Spain to see places like Ayamonte, Huelva, and even Sevilla.
Pros & cons of living here
Everywhere has its pros and cons, including Tavira.
- Small, charming, and picturesque, with several historical and cultural attractions
- Close to Faro, the Algarve’s main city
- Close to the Spanish border
- Close to Faro Airport
- This part of the Algarve (the Eastern Algarve) is typically less touristy than the Central and Western Algarve
- Tavira has a fantastic (albeit touristy) market
- It isn’t possible to walk to the beach as it is in other Algarve towns
Shops & shopping
Tavira is famous for its market, the Mercado Municipal de Tavira, which offers all of the basics (fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, and fish) as well as a good selection of locally-made cakes, breads, and other delicacies. It can get busy and touristy during the summer, particularly on Saturdays.
Besides the market, there are plenty of supermarket options around, including Continente, Pingo Doce, Lidl, and Aldi.
Public transport & getting around
Have a car is recommended, as with anywhere on the Algarve. However, because Tavira has both a train and bus station, it is easier to live here without a car than many other Algarve towns.
From Tavira, the train will take you to many nearby Algarve towns, including Vila Real de Santo António, Castro Marim, Olhão, Faro, Portimão, and Lagos. There local are also bus services, of course, which are even more extensive than the train. Longer distance coaches take you to destinations like Lisbon, Porto, and the rest of Portugal. It’s also very easy to get a bus into Spain, particularly Seville. The bus journey from Tavira to Seville takes as little as two hours.
Faro Airport, the Algarve’s regional airport, is just a little over half an hour by car from Tavira. The airport typically offers plenty of flights to the UK, Germany, and the rest of Northern Europe, as well as Lisbon and Porto. At just a little under two hours by car from Tavira, Seville airport is also within reach, and it can offer access to some destinations not covered by Faro Airport. For longer distance flights, you’ll typically need to fly from Lisbon, Madrid, or another large European airport.